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Universum COVID-19 EB Sentiment Pulse Survey

By Universum on 23/04/2020

When starting 2020 with a fresh Employer Branding plan, a pandemic came to change the dynamics for every organization in the world. Many questions have arisen due to COVID-19 in the corporate world. Where to focus resources? What to prioritize? And especially, how the future looks?

At Universum, we wanted to contribute by bringing answers through data.

During these uncertain times, we are running a series of short surveys intended to shed light on Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition professionals.

In our first survey, COVID-19 EB Sentiment Pulse, 120 leaders of Employer Branding and Talent Attraction areas across all industries around the world, participated with their thoughts, sentiment, and projections regarding the effects of COVID-19 in their day-to-day functions.

Among the main findings are:

Employer Branding as an emergency response

In times of crisis, it’s all about what you communicate and how you do it. Employer Branding becomes crucial at supporting marketing and corporate communications as part of an official response to the COVID-19 emergency.

It’s time to showcase those EVP values you have been tirelessly working on. Bring them to life with creative campaigns that show the internal/external alignment of your values. In our survey, we found that only 50% of organizations have added a COVID-19 statement on their careers site.

However, the variation by industry is remarkable. 100% of Healthcare and Pharma companies have added this statement and 60% of those have taken measures to the candidate experience by updating their candidate communications to address any changes to their current hiring. Conversely, in the Energy industry, only 50% of companies have taken any of these measurements.

When it comes to communicating, remember:

  • Authenticity plays a major role.
  • Celebrate your workforce, now remotely.
  • Spread positivity and support to the communities you serve.
  • There is always room for creativity and playfulness. Differentiate yourself!

Budget amidst uncertainty

The overall global results are optimistic regarding budgets with 53% of the respondents saying their budgets remain the same despite COVID-19.

The industries that see the least changes in these uncertain times are professional services and Banking while others have seen a drastic change of reallocation of resources, which is the case of Healthcare and Pharmaceutical companies.

Hiring and recruitment needs          

Talent Attraction is one of the most impacted areas when uncertainty appears in the landscape. In this case, 47% of respondents indicated fewer hiring needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working remotely

Employees are in general confident in their company’s ability to function on a fully virtual or remote basis. This metric is a direct reflection of the level of internal engagement, in which Employer Branding plays a critical role.


On the other hand, roughly over half of organizations are embracing engagement in the new reality of remote work.


Communication channels

When it comes to working remotely, one of the main challenges is to keep up fluid communication among colleagues. What we see in our survey is that, although traditional email keeps its first place as the preferred channel with 72% of respondents manifesting this as their go-to, other video conference tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom are gaining space rapidly. Worth to think of offering training, tips and recommendations on how to make the most out of these tools.

If you want to participate in our upcoming surveys, please sign up here.

To register and attend our webinars where we present survey results as well as insights and best practices, visit our events page.

About Universum

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With over 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted more than 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at